The league won't be won or lost down at Rusthall, insists Glebe boss Adam Woodward

Sunday 05th March 2017

GLEBE manager Adam Woodward insists there is no pressure on him going into the top-of-the-table clash at Rusthall on Wednesday night.

Rusthall avoided slipping up on a potential banana skin by coming away from basement side Lewisham Borough with a 4-2 win at the Ladywell Arena yesterday, while Glebe’s London Senior Trophy Semi-Final at home to Newham United was abandoned in extra-time with Glebe leading 3-2.

Steve Sands and Steve Ashmore’s Rustics remain at the top of the Southern Counties East Football League First Division table, having collected 70 points from their 29 league games and have seven games left to play.

Glebe remain in second-place and are seven points adrift of Rusthall, but they do have four games in hand.

A crowd of over 200 are expected at Jockey Farm on Wednesday night and Woodward confirmed that this is the biggest game of his managerial career to date.

“Look, we’ll go down there, the pitch is a leveller for them, they know how to play the pitch well.  All we can do is turn up, play and see how we get on,” said Woodward.

“I’ve watched them a couple of times, they’ve got a forward in Andy Constable, the winger is decent as well. 

“They’re very, very solid. He has them very, very organised and like I said, it will be a tough game down there.”

Glebe were held to a goal-less draw at Bridon Ropes last Wednesday, where 22-goal striker Fred Obasa pulled up early with a thigh twinge , but 25-goal striker Ryan Golding has been playing games recently aftter battlling back from a leg break.

Both strikers will have fitness tests leading up to the game to see if they can play a part in the big game.

When asked whether Wednesday’s game will decide who will go on and win the league title, Woodward replied: “No! I’ve said from the start, the league won’t be won or lost down at Rusthall, ok!

“There’s three or four teams in the race still. Everyone’s got to play everyone. We’ve got to play Kent Football, K Sports twice, Rusthall.  K Sports have got to play Rusthall.   Look, we’ve all got to play each other and take points off each other, that’s the way it is.”

K Sports remain in third-place on 59 points from 27 games, although they went down to a 2-0 defeat at Holmesdale, while Sutton Athletic are fourth (57 points from 28 games) and Kent Football United follow in fifth on 56 points from 27 games).

Woodward must deliver promotion at the end of his first season in charge of the club.

Simon Copley and his assistant Ian Varley were sacked before the end of last season, despite taking charge of their last three games, winning both the London Senior Trophy and League Cup, as Glebe had to settle for third-place behind promoted pair Bearsted and Sheppey United.

“There’s no pressure on me at all,” insisted Woodward.

“I’m here to win games of football. I’ve said this from the start and we’ll see where we are at the end of the season. There’s no pressure.  I put the pressure on myself if I’m honest, but I like winning games of football.

“It’s a massive game, it’s probably my biggest game I’ve had as a manager. We’ll have to prepare right.  We all live for games like this. Listen, win or lose on Wednesday it’s not all over. It’s not all over until the end, until it’s mathematically impossible, then it’s over.”

Woodward says his squad can cope playing so many games by the end of the season (22 April).

“It is what it is.  We’ve got a big squad, competition for places. We just have to take each game as it comes, and we’ll go from there.”

Constable scored his 15th goal of the season in Rusthall’s colours, scoring the first goal in the club’s win over Lewisham Borough yesterday.

The 38-year-old striker has now scored 329 career goals in his 20-year non-league career and is relishing Wednesday’s clash against Glebe.

Glebe arrive at Jockey Farm with an unbeaten away record in the league but Constable feels their uneven and bobbly pitch will play its part under the lights.

“I like it, it brings everyone down to my pace,” smiled Constable, ahead of Rusthall’s biggest game in their history.

“It’s not the best, it’s not very even. The club are investing a lot in the summer so hopefully we can repay them by getting out of this level and progress into Step Five.

“It’s tricky at times, it can be a bit bobbly and it is very uneven.

“The club have a big project to flatten it out but I’m sure once it’s done (it will be an improvement).”

Constable, who’s last club was Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division side Sevenoaks Town, says he’s enjoying life at Jockey Farm.

“ I mean in the short time I’ve been here, the club has been brilliant.  They’ve got a lot of great people here, they do things the right way, they want to progress, which is nice to be a part of it, so I’ve loved every minute of being here to be honest.”

Points in the bag are a lot better than having four games in hand and Rusthall can do themselves a big favour if they claim three massive points on Wednesday night.

“That will go a long way.  It’s a big one and we know we can’t afford to lose that game,” said Constable.

“We went to their place with a very weakened side earlier on in the season and got a 0-0 draw. 

“Wednesday’s going to be a great occasion for the club.  Hopefully we can get a couple of hundred.  The attendances midweek for some of the games, certainly when Tunbridge Wells, Crowborough and Sevenoaks haven’t been playing have been up.  I’m sure the club will be looking to attract a big attendance for this one.”

Having lead the league table for a large chunk of the website, Constable is keen to help his club get the job done and cross the finishing line in first place.

“It’s going to be an exciting end to the season. We’re all looking forward to it,” he said.”

“The squad that we’ve got at this level is a very good squad with a lot of experience and we’re ready to give all we can to try to get promotion. That’s got to be the target. 

“No one would have thought it was possible at the start of the season after last year but the two Steve’s have come in and brought a whole new squad with them and have turned the club around and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of it.”

Rusthall have confirmed admission prices for the game:
£4 (adults), £2 (concessions) and £1 (under 16s).

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Rusthall  v  Glebe
Southern Counties East Football League First Division
Wednesday 8th March 2017
Kick Off 7:45pm
At Jockey Farm Stadium, Nellington Road, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4 8SH